Relax and take notes
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
As I’ve written in other posts, I was pretty involved in college, which meant I was always in some sort of meetings. I was in meetings for my classes. I team-taught a class which required meetings. I had many internal meetings for the Board I was a part of, while I also had many external meetings for the Board. I even had meetings for dance beyond practice. If you couldn’t find me, your best guess would be some sort of meeting.
I really don’t remember a time being told best practices for meetings such as setting an agenda or recapping meetings. I kind-of learned as I went and really developed best practices where I left meetings saying what the hell were we even trying to accomplish.
Kind-of funny story, I learned every meeting should have a set agenda or some sort of discussion points when I met with one of my advisers after being elected President to my Board. I took the initiative to ask for the meeting (did something right) to see how we could better collaborate going into the subsequent year’s event planning season.
However, upon entering the meeting, she asked me for discussion points or an agenda of some sort, and I scrambled to put the thoughts together that were in my mind and mumbled “yes, here’s what I want to discuss…” Clearly, I had nothing put together. I was slightly mortified by my unpreparedness and never wanted to feel like that again going into a meeting.
After that, I never went to another meeting unprepared especially if I was running or initiated it. I always had some sort of agenda or discussion points prepared.
Before a more formal meeting, I typically send out an agenda with items I want to discuss, need updates on, or am awaiting approvals from a senior contact. When the meeting is more formal, I’ll send the agenda out to meeting attendees in advance, so they can review it ahead of time and suggest any additions or changes that are needed. I try not to keep my agendas too long. I try to hit on the points where I need answers or a larger discussion. I want everyone engaged in what’s on the agenda, so it’s important to hit on key points.
A sample of what my agenda might look like is as follows –
I. Key Point 1 – What do I need from the group?
a. Sub-bullet regarding Key Point 1
b. Sub-bullet regarding Key Point 1
c. Sub-bullet regarding Key Point 1
II. Key Point 2 – What do I need from the group?
a. Sub-bullet regarding Key Point 2
b. Sub-bullet regarding Key Point 2
c. Sub-bullet regarding Key Point 2
I. Key Point 3 – What do I need from the group?
a. Sub-bullet regarding Key Point 3
b. Sub-bullet regarding Key Point 3
c. Sub-bullet regarding Key Point 3
II. Key Point 4 – What do I need from the group?
a. Sub-bullet regarding Key Point 4
b. Sub-bullet regarding Key Point 4
c. Sub-bullet regarding Key Point 4
I try to keep it simple and easy to understand, so there’s no confusion for whoever is reviewing it.
Usually after meetings I run or initiate, I summarize discussion points and send it to all meeting participants. That way I ensure everyone’s on the same page, expectations are clear, and people have the opportunity to comment on the recap. It’s also a way to cover your butt on what next steps are after a meeting happens. If nobody in the meeting tells you to handle something differently than what was in your recap, you can infer they’re okay with what you documented as next steps given they were included on the message, had the opportunity to make a comment, and didn’t.
Most times, my recaps are in bullet form. Each bullet includes the key point (in bold) and next steps according to what was discussed in the meeting.
*Let me know if anything should be added or changed (This statement allows others to comment on the recap that I’ve provided to everyone below).
Recap of Meeting, 8/13/2019 –
· Key Point 1 – Write down what the next steps are…
· Key Point 2 – “”
· Key Point 3 – “”
· Key Point 4 – “”
…you get the point.
Every meeting should involve a recap regardless of who does it. If nobody elects to do it, then you should do it – take initiative!